Every May, we take part in Safety Week — a chance for contractors around the world to come together to celebrate our ongoing dedication to eliminate injury from job sites. Each year, we develop a company-specific theme for the week to highlight an idea or a practice that helps us work safer. Because our safety culture is focused around the idea of eliminating the hazards, we decided to make our theme this year simply, “Eliminate the Hazards,” which we believe is the most important safety message we can promote.
We face many hazards every day on our job sites, but we chose to focus on four of the most common dangerous situations we see to open a discussion on the best ways to eliminate the hazards before they become incidents.
Struck-by accidents include falling and flying objects. OSHA reports around 10 percent of deaths in construction are the result of a struck-by accident. Areas where work can potentially send objects falling or flying should be barricaded, and each barricade needs to describe the hazard on a warning sign. Wearing the proper personal protective equipment is another way to avoid a serious stuck-by incident.
We selected falls as one of our hazards to focus on this week because it is the most common safety hazard seen on job sites. OSHA reports that falls have resulted in 38.7 percent of fatalities in construction. Fall hazards can occur when working on roofs, balconies, lifts, scaffoldings, and similar situations. We work to eliminate this hazard by requiring everyone on our job sites to use guard rails and personal fall protection equipment when working at or above 6 feet. Our company’s requirement is stricter than OSHA requirements, but our safety policy is designed to raise the bar of safety requirements, and – in the process – save lives.
Electrical accidents are listed as the cause of approximately 4,000 injuries annually. These types of accidents can result in shocks, burns, fatal electrocutions, and indirect results such as falls from ladders. Flexible electrical cords are very common on job sites and are subject to daily abuse. Elevating cords on the job site can help protect them from physical damage and reduce electrical accidents.
Damaging a utility can cause project delays, additional costs, and even fatal accidents. By planning ahead and taking precautionary steps, we can avoid utility strikes. Reviewing utility records and validating existing records can help you locate any underground utilities and know which areas require extreme caution while working. Also, make sure your team is properly trained in handling utilities to eliminate this hazard before work begins.
May 7-10 is officially Safety Week, but our goal is to encourage our employees and trade partners to keep the same amount of focus on safety every week. We encourage you to constantly think about how you can eliminate the hazards around you. It isn’t enough to be careful or work safely in dangerous conditions, you must get rid of the dangerous situations all together. Be safe. Eliminate the Hazards.